Month: October, 2010

Celia Birtwell goes online

Bird Song fabric in Cherry

I don’t really trust anyone who doesn’t find even the smallest degree of joy in Celia Birtwell’s legendary designs.

Doyenne of hippy chic and ‘the face that launched a thousand prints’ – or more – Birtwell is a longstanding favourite of many a design junkie, representing one half of fashion’s most iconic marriage. And behind every great man…

Today, print aficionados across the globe can celebrate as Celia Birtwell takes the leap and goes online. Wallpaper, fabric, stationery, vintage and contemporary fashion including original Ossie Clark pieces, homeware – it’s all there for the taking and they ship all over the world.

As you would expect, the prints speak for themselves.

Candy Flower fabric in Dusky Violet on Oyster Linen

Jacobean at Night wallpaper in Ivory

Pretty Woman alarm clock

Dandy Watering Can

Mademoiselle’s Best Friend scarf in Mustard

JamJar flower design

Last year, my friend Melissa decided – very nobly, in my opinion – to ditch the world of fashion, where she had been co-running one of London’s most successful and established model agencies, to pursue her passion for flower design.

And just like that JamJar Flowers was born.

With commissions for Mandarin Oriental and J Lindeberg already under her belt, Melissa certainly knows what she is doing and her flowers are becoming hot London property.

“It’s just like working with models,” she says, “except the flowers can’t answer back”.

I thought I would share some of her designs. The flowers are all seasonal, sourced locally and arranged in a natural, organic style – perfect for business events, parties or weddings, or even just a little mid-week pick-me-up for your own home.

Faking it: paperback wallpaper at Anthropologie

From Agatha Christie to I, Claudius, now everyone can have their very own library. Kill the Kindle, save the book.

Paperback wallpaper, £128, Anthropologie

DAY Birger et Mikkelsen A/W 2010

I am a longstanding fan of quirky Danish label DAY Birger et Mikkelsen‘s clothes and homeware ranges, and a look at this season’s new interiors offering has only compounded my love. Fusing fresh and simple colours  – oatmeal, black, coral, silver, grey – with hand-embroidered cushions and delicately engraved silver accessories, the collection is simple yet striking, with their characteristically pared down, ethnic aesthetic resonating throughout – the emphasis on crafts and handmade designs still strong.

My favourite for this season is the siamese grey climbing flower cushion cover, with coral petals and asphalt leaves. Warm and bold, it is perfect for oppressive winter days.

People we’re loving: beetroot

When two Scottish design junkies named Helen and Louise decided to ditch their lives in Britain and relocate to Warsaw, the combination was bound to produce something a little bit different. And beetroot, their online shop for Polish inspired home accessories, provides just that.

“beetroot was born from our love of contemporary Polish design, love of modern Polish culture and that unique industrial-meets-folk style of design which is becoming a signature look of many products produced here…” say the self-christened beetroot girls. “We have invested a lot of time and energy indulging our passion, meeting designers from all over Poland, visiting cutting-edge design exhibitions and events and watching design news.  The result is a bold, quirky and loveable collection of items that enhance the mood of the way we live.”

My personal favourite for autumn is the kiddies’ conker stool:

They also have a good array of kitsch and colourful home accessories and adornments. Here are a few:

Refreshingly, the site also ha a section where you can meet the designers who manufacture the products. It is all lovely and  transparent and a great introduction to the Polish design scene.


Whistlestop tour: The Conran Shop, Sloane Avenue

Last week, on a lovely sunny morning, I ventured over to the Brompton design district to snoop around the new collections and see what trends we will be coveting this winter. Brimming with bright colours, bold prints and chunky textures, the Conran Shop had everything I was looking for – as well as things I didn’t even know I wanted and now believe I need.

It is a treasure trove for anyone struggling to make that rocky transition from a light and airy summer aesthetic to something deeper and more opulent for winter, while their new essentials range at The Well Considered Shop offers all the design treats you would expect from Conran but with a more palatable price tag. Head their way for oversized knit throws in burnt ochre and deep rusty red, exotic woven baskets and embroidered cushions that take you to another country entirely, as well as feathered bird lamps and the finest glass bedside decanters… all you need for a vibrant, optimistic atmosphere to conquer the onset of drizzle and cloud.


Peep show: Henry and Carolyn’s little shepherd’s hut

A few weekends ago I decided to get out of London and head to the countryside in search of fresh air and something new. Arriving at a little campsite consisting of a small wigwam, shepherd’s hut, compost loo and outdoor bath, nestled in the garden of English B&B owners Henry and Carolyn, I felt I had fulfilled my goal.

Based in Lower Buckton, just outside Ludlow, the little campsite is about as idyllic as they come. Henry and Carolyn have lived in their house for years, which they run as a B&B, but only recently decided to add the campsite as an extra source of income. The shepherd’s hut was found locally and over time they have filled it with various eclectic bits and bobs – pots, pans, retro crockery and vintage trunks. Space is scarce but they have managed to fit a little wood burner to keep you snug at night.

Aside from Carolyn’s fresh bacon sandwiches and homemade apple juice delivered, as quiet as a mouse, to the doorstep in the morning (she is quite the foodie and does cooking weeks as well), and the gentle plodding of their two horses around the camp in the early morning, my favourite element was without a doubt the outdoor bath, heated from underneath with logs, if only one had the patience to wait for them to work.

I didn’t.